Daily Recap: April 22, 2009
Because my snark is running low as of this writing, let me take this introductory opportunity to tell you what’s dropping on our site for the remainder of the week.
Coming tomorrow is our hands-on overview of the new Nintendo DSi system. To be clear, the purpose of an overview is to be less like a review–instead of making recommendations on the overall value of the product, we’re simply providing our readership with an introduction to it. We’ll still offer our crystal-clear opinions backed-up with facts, but the final purchasing decision is up to you, as always. Also on the way tomorrow is a review of Xbox Live Arcade title Galaga Legions.
Friday we’ll be reviewing the new Left 4 Dead DLC pack with its hectic and horrific Survival Mode. Can we last more than two minutes? Doubtful.
Next Tuesday’s big post is a “cooperative” review of Resident Evil 5 between Nick and me. This review has been a long time coming, and we look forward to adding our special co-op-centric commentary into the structure of our usual, trusty reviews.
Now, onto the news…and some awesome poster art.
Thank you, ThinkGeek, for beating a very dead horse: You can (for now) purchase brand-spanking-new, unopened Dreamcast consoles for $99 from ThinkGeek.com’s online store. What amazes me the most is that the company was able to track down enough “new” consoles to provide a slot on their virtual shelves, as Sega supposedly sold through its remaining stock of refurbished units through its Sega Direct store. Official production of the console stopped in March of 2001, and as such new console eBay prices today hover near ThinkGeek’s. Clearly, paying a flat rate premium for a sealed console is better than getting it used. Luckily for me, my Dreamcast is still kicking, though my rose-colored glasses didn’t help much when I tried playing through Shenmue again last year: I shut the game off after 35 minutes. However, in my bizarro-world reality, Phantasy Star Online is still one of the best MMOs ever made, so take that as you will. I’ll admit that the system was ahead of its time, though it still doesn’t give credence to those damned VMU Chaos–I’m looking at you, Sonic Adventure.
In an unexpected gesture of semi-goodwill, Warner Bros. is letting owners of their HD-DVD titles to trade-up to Blu-ray for $4.95 per title, and only $6.95 shipping per entire order. Though only available in the U.S. and Peurto Rico, it’s still a very cool move on the company’s part. Maybe other companies who dabbled in the HD-DVD side of the most recent war of the formats will follow suit. Check out the full article for details here, and, if interested, go to the official trade-in site here. 1UP raises a devious point: Could savvy people nab cheap HD-DVDs to then upgrade for a total cost that would still be less than the full price of most Blu-ray titles? Why yes, people could.
Continuing our unintentional habit of covering rhythm-based games, an interesting news piece on Gamasutra reports that according to Cowen Group analyst Doug Creutz, despite a probable decline in overall sales for music games in 2009, the Guitar Hero franchise will perform better than Rock Band titles. The article amounts to the following: Due to Harmonix’s focus on The Beatles: Rock Band instead of a flagship, Rock Band 3 type of title, the major Guitar Hero title this year (assuming it’s a World Tour 2 or something along those lines) will be in a better position to encourage sales than a gamble like a Beatles-only title with a high price entry point. Specifically:
It’s doubtful, according to Creutz, that the upcoming Beatles-themed Rock Band release will make the same kind of impact as another major franchise release. And the high price point — $250 — of the special edition ‘could put a cap on peripheral sales.’
— Excerpt from “Analyst: Guitar Hero To Lead 2009 Band Game Wars,” by Leigh Alexander
We here at The Silicon Sasquatch are skeptical about this presumption, and not because two of our writers are Rock Band fanboys. It’s anyone’s guess how well The Beatles: Rock Band will do, but the sheer brand power of a Beatles music game could possibly knock sales right out of the park. However, as I mentioned to Nick, it’s a different generation of gamers today and it surprises the both of us how many among our peers just don’t like The Beatles. Maybe, and it sounds strange to say this, the game will be too niche to make a big impact on the NPD lists.